Tuesday, February 18, 2014

USS Taylor Runs Aground While Mooring in Turkey

By Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S.6th Fleet Public Affairs

SAMSUN, Turkey (NNS) -- The Mayport-based frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50) is being inspected for damage after running aground Feb. 12.

The incident occurred as Taylor was preparing to moor in Samsun, Turkey. Taylor was able to moor without further incident.

There were no reported injuries, and the incident is currently under investigation. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.

Taylor is currently supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the Black Sea to establish and enhance cooperation, mutual training and interoperability with regional partner nations and allies.

Taylor is currently on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

Exercise Polar Force tests capabilities of JBER Airmen

by Airman 1st Class Omari Bernard
JBER Public Affairs

2/14/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Air Force personnel and DoD civilians assigned to 673d Air Base Wing and 3rd participated in Exercise Polar Force 14-2, an operational readiness exercise, Feb. 4 through 12, designed to test Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's short-notice deployment capabilities.

The week-long ORE validated and evaluated the wings' ability to integrate, mobilize and prepare assigned personnel, aircraft and equipment for their wartime mission and to employ forces and weapons systems to perform missions at a the drop of a

In phase one of the exercise, base personnel were called upon to be prepared for multiple scenarios, ranging from noncombatant evacuation operations to mass deployments within hours of being notified.

One of the scenarios included out-processing and ensuring chalks of deploying Airmen were ready.

"The Personnel Deployment Function's role is to check the eligibility of everyone deploying," said Air Force 1st Lt. Meghan Cummings, 673d Force Support Squadron military personnel section chief.

The PDF line is made up of a series of stations people process through. Stations included chaplains or chaplains assistance, legal aid, financial aid and medical services.
"We coordinate with the medical folks on our line to make sure that they are all medically cleared," Cummings said. "Then we get them briefed. Then we pack them up and send them out."

The PDF line is a final check to ensure that deployers have met all the training requirements.

During the noncombatant evacuation operations scenario, base personnel organized and assisted with the arrival of simulated displaced personnel, including the participation of volunteers portraying inbound arrivals waiting to be escorted. Airmen in civilian attire were used in these situations to help increase accuracy and realism throughout the exercise.
According to Joint Publication 3-68, "NEOs are conducted to assist the Department of State in evacuating noncombatants, nonessential military personnel, selected host-nation citizens, and third country nationals whose lives are in danger from locations in a host foreign nation to an appropriate safe haven and/or the United States."

"I briefed the evacuees on operational security using social media," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf, 673d ABW photojournalist. "I showed them how to set their security settings."

Polar Force proved the wing's war fighting capability to prepare, deploy
and redeploy.

National Guard skeleton coach Tuffy Latour is ‘a rock,’ Olympics athlete says

Click photo for screen-resolution imageBy Tim Hipps
U.S Army Installation Management Command

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (2/18/14) - Team USA Olympic skeleton coach Vermont Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Tuffy Latour helped coach Team USA's Noelle Pikus-Pace to an Olympic silver medal and Matt Antoine to a bronze at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

Latour, 45, a four-time Olympic coach from Saranac Lake, N.Y., who is attached to the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, has led U.S. and Canadian athletes to six Olympic medals. He helped coach Team USA's Noelle Pikus-Pace to an Olympic silver medal and Katie Uhlaender to a fourth-place finish Friday night in the women's skeleton event.

One day later, Latour led Matt Antoine to an Olympic bronze medal and John Daly to 15th place in men's skeleton.

"He's a rock," Pikus-Pace said. "He's the absolute best coach I've ever had, whether it's track and field, skeleton, softball, basketball or soccer.

"It's not just because of his coaching on the track," Pikus-Pace continued. "It's because of the sacrifice he makes for us. He puts his athletes first, and he cares so much about us. He's results-based and all about what will make us better as a team."

Uhlaender thanked Latour for his support at the start of the bobsled run, and asked him to hold the good-luck necklace charm she usually wears during competition. It was the Major League Baseball National League Championship ring passed on by her late father, Ted Otto Uhlaender, whose Cincinnati Reds lost the 1972 World Series in seven games to the Oakland Athletics. Katie told Tuffy she wanted to make the final Olympic run on her own - without her father's presence, yet in honor of his name. It was a psychological way of "moving on," so to speak.

Ted Uhlaender, an outfielder for the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds from 1965 through 1972, died of a heart attack at his ranch in Atwood, Kan., on Feb. 12, 2009, shortly before Katie finished second in the World Cup season finale at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.
"He made me feel like a warrior," Uhlaender said. "He made me feel like I have a purpose, and I felt like I lost my way when he passed away."

Nonetheless, Katie came roaring back on skeleton tracks and battled through numerous injuries to finish fourth at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games -- five years and two days after losing her dad.
Seemingly atop on her game during the 2012-2013 World Cup skeleton season, Uhlaender again was forced to persevere after suffering a concussion last autumn. Having resiliently rebounded from numerous injuries and surgeries, including a shattered kneecap, Uhlaender expected to be in the medal hunt here.

"I can't help but wonder what if I hadn't had that concussion, what if I had slid more, what if my start number was better," she said.

Pikus-Pace did not complete her six training runs here for the women's skeleton event and few really knew what troubled the sure-fire Olympic medal contender. She missed some practice runs, and blamed it on back pains. During a post-race press conference after winning the silver and sniffing the flowers, Pikus-Pace admitted that she had sustained a concussion.

"On Wednesday, I had a concussion," Pikus-Pace said. "On Friday, I was getting MRIs. I was pretty out of it. I couldn't see clearly. My vision was blurred, so for medical reasons I could not take those runs. My back has bothered me, but my federation was just trying to protect me from the media to protect me for this race. I had the MRIs on Friday and it was just deduced that I needed to take the maximum runs off that I could. But, honestly, I felt my best and I felt very good today."

After likely the final race of her career, Pikus-Pace said she was "confident and coming back," and experienced "only a little vertigo," but "Lizzy just threw down."

Elizabeth Yarnold won Great Britain's first gold medal of the Sochi Games with a four-run cumulative time of 3 minutes, 52.89 seconds. Pikus-Pace (3:53.86) took the silver, followed by bronze medalist Elena Nikitina (3:54.30) of host Russia. Uhlaender finished fourth in 3:54.34.

"I slid my heart out," said Uhlaender, 29, of Breckenridge, Colo. "There wasn't anything else I could have done. I am heartbroken."

Already a world champion, World Cup champion and Olympian, Pikus-Pace finally got the Olympic medal that eluded her by one-tenth of a second at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Whistler, B.C., Canada. She retired from skeleton to expand her family, but a miscarriage in 2012 inspired her back onto the fast track. Her husband, Janson, and two children, Lacee and Tracyen, supported her long road to Sochi and were here Friday night to share in the celebration.

"It was worth the wait," Pikus-Pace said. "It was worth every minute of it. Honestly, getting hit by the bobsled, people said: 'Oh man, that's horrible.' Getting fourth at the Olympics, they said: 'Ah, too bad.? Then I had the miscarriage at 18 weeks, and many tears were shed. But if I hadn't gone through every single one of those things I could not be here today. And this is right where I want to be, and to have my family here, the love and support, it's just beyond words -- just beyond words."

During another post-race interview, she expressed her silver-stricken sentiments with rearranged words.

"It is so surreal," Pikus-Pace said. "This is everything I could have imagined and more, just to have my family here with me and all of the love and support and cheers we've had, and all of the trials we've had to overcome to come to this moment. This is as good as gold."

The proud gleam in Latour's eyes seemed to say it all during the flower ceremony.

"It's just incredible," Latour said while riding a van down the mountain from the skeleton start to the finish. "We've been working hard all season for the last two years with Noelle through a lot of ups and downs, and ever since we got here, she just hasn't felt well. It was kind of a battle for her to just even get here to these races. For her to come out and finish second was as good as gold to her.

"She wanted to come out and win a medal at the Olympic Games, and we got her there," he explained. "It was little disappointing that we couldn't get Katie up on the medal stand, as well."

U.S. Olympic men's skeleton athletes also praised Latour.

"Tuffy has been the best coach I've ever had in my life," said John Daly, who finished 15th in the Olympic men's skeleton event Feb. 15. "The one thing he's kind of drilled into us is: 'It's a process, it's not about results. You focus on the process. You focus on curves one, then two, and on down.' That's a really hard thing to do, but he's always had confidence in us. He's always kind of believed in us. We look to him when we don't believe in ourselves and we see what he sees, and that's kind of how it goes, and that's kind of why we do well."

Antoine claimed Olympic medal No. 6 for Latour's athletes when he struck bronze in men's skeleton Feb. 15.

"He started with us in 2010, and he's taken the team to new heights," Daly said. "He's taken us all to a medal in each world championships, so you couldn't really ask for a better coach."

"It's great to be in [the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program]," Latour said. "Any time you can serve your country and represent it at the same time, it's very, very special. The Russians have put on a great Olympics. The Sochi Games are awesome. The facilities are first class. This is probably one of the best sliding facilities in the world. They have all these gondolas bringing people to these different facilities. It's spectacular."

(Editor's note: Gary Shetick of Army News Service and Amanda Bird of USA Skeleton contributed to this article.)

D-M girls selected as semi-finalists for Military Child of the Year Award

by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/18/2014 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZ., -- Two local area children whose parents are stationed here have been selected as semi-finalists for Operation Homefront's Military Child of the Year (MCOY).

The two finalists are Karrington Pryor, age 13 and Caylin Taylor, age 8.

Karrington is the daughter of Tech. Sgt. Abbi Cabeen, 923rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, section chief, and step-daughter of Master Sgt. Mark Cabeen, 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron production superintendent.

Caylin is the daughter of Tech. Sgt. Ryan Taylor, 355th Civil Engineering Squadron, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Readiness and Emergency Management Flight.

The MCOY Award is presented by Operation Homefront to outstanding military children who demonstrate resiliency, leadership and achievement. Recipients representing each branch of the armed services receive their award at a Washington, D.C. Gala celebration in April each year.

The recipient of the MCOY Award for each branch of service will be announced in March. Each award recipient will receive $5,000 and will be flown, with a parent or guardian, to Washington, D.C. for a special recognition ceremony on April 10.

Karrington learned from her mother she was selected as a semi-finalist for the MCOY Award in a unique way.

"I showed Karrington her name on the list of semi-finalists on the internet and that's when she really freaked out," Cabeen said.

Karrington described her emotions when her mom surprised her with the news.

"I was in my kitchen when my mom called me over to the computer," Karrington said. "I didn't know what to say. I was speechless. I was just very excited and nervous at the same time, because I couldn't believe I was picked."

Cabeen expressed how she felt about her daughter being selected as a MCOY Award semi-finalist.

"I am very, very proud of her," said Cabeen. "I serve my country wearing a uniform, and she serves our community, her school and our family by doing such amazing things. What she can do as a 13-year-old, I can only fathom to try and do as a 34-year-old."

Karrington is involved in many extra-curricular activities, to include community service and volunteer work.

"I feel like I help the community out a lot," said Karrington. "I do community service like picking up trash around the neighborhood. I ran a snack bar for my brother's football team where I put in 300 volunteer hours over the summer."

Aside from the leadership Karrington demonstrates in her volunteer work. She shows resiliency as well.

"Karrington actually has three active duty parents," said Cabeen. "Her father and I divorced and I went on to marry another active duty parent. So Karrington doesn't just go through the challenges of a simplistic traditional home. Her dad is stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, so she goes and visits him on breaks from school."

D-M's second semi-finalist, Caylin, was entered in the running for the MCOY Award six months ago. Her father wrote a statement to Operation Homefront that emphasized her involvement within the community and the resiliency she possesses at such a young age.

"I've deployed two or three times since she's been born," Sergeant Taylor said. "On top of that, I crosstrained into a four and a half month tech school and attended the NCO academy, so I've been gone a lot. She hasn't necessarily suffered, but she's been affected by it. For her to have resilience while being involved in so much, I thought she should be recognized for it."

Caylin had no idea that she was entered into the award selection process by her father. When Sergeant Taylor found out that she had been selected as a semi-finalist, he told her about it immediately.

"Once I found out she was selected I sat her down and said 'You have been great and supportive for me while I support our country,'" said Sergeant Taylor. "She was so excited and happy. My thought process when entering her was that in the military we are awarded and recognized when we do well. So I just related that idea to her situation."

Being a military kid, Caylin learned an early, but difficult lesson in resiliency.

"A tough time for Caylin was when her best friend Hannah received a permanent change of station to another Air Force base," said Sergeant Taylor. "Sometimes when she gets upset, she says 'I miss Hannah.' I just have to explain to her that her daddy had to go defend the country from another location."

Sergeant Taylor explained why Caylin is different from other children her age.

"She's very articulate for an 8-year-old," said Sergeant Taylor. "I always say she's 8 going on 20, because she is so mature for her age. She's the type of kid who'll get involved in adult conversations. If my wife and I are discussing plans of some sort to do as a family, Caylin will explain what she wants to do and why. She is always engaged."

Caylin also stays engaged in and out of school as well.

"She goes to Frank Borman Elementary on base, where she is a member of the student council," said Sergeant Taylor. "We also go to the "All Workmen Are Not Ashamed" program at the base chapel which aims to bring families together spiritually through gospel studies."

When Caylin and Karrington are not engaged in extracurricular activities they love to have fun just like other girls in their age group.

"I love to have sleepovers," said Karrington. "I even like to go off-roading in the desert with my family's all-terrain vehicle."

"Caylin is very active," said Sergeant Taylor. "She loves to play with her friends, but she likes trying new things too. When I go golfing, she always asks if she can go with me. I can't take her yet, so I just tell her 'Maybe in a couple of years.'"

When it comes to utilizing the $5,000 prize for receiving the MCOY Award, both girls' hearts seem to be in the right place.

"I would probably put aside a little bit to go shopping," said Karrington. "I would definitely save the rest for college and a car."

"I'd have to say that Caylin's number one answer would be to buy a horse, but she would also want to donate to less fortunate people," said Sergeant Taylor.

The semi-finalists will be interviewed individually by Operation Homefront staff. Award recipients will be chosen by a committee, to include active-duty and retired military personnel, spouses of senior military leaders, veterans service organization leadership, teachers, and community members.

For the Love of Reading!

by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/18/2014 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.  -- Desert Lightning Team members read to children in the Tucson community in support of 'Love of Reading Week', Feb. 10-14.

Love of Reading Week is a national event designed to encourage the appreciation of literature among students, by giving community members an opportunity to read to children.

"Books get children immersed into the story and the characters. When you read it to them they can imagine themselves in the story," said Staff Sgt. Brandon Carlson, 355th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter.

Approximately 15 D-M firefighters volunteered about 30 hours of off-duty time and read to nearly 430 students at Myers-Ganoung Elementary School. Local schools reached out to the base looking for military personnel willing to volunteer their time to participate.

The students view military members as heroes said Julie McIntyre, the school principal. She believes the children will be encouraged to read if they see military members reading.

Some volunteers let the students pick which books they wanted read, while other readers brought their own book, to not only entertain the students, but also teach them a valuable lesson.

"A lot of the kids love firefighters, so most of the guys chose firefighter books to teach fire prevention lessons," Carlson said.

Reading to the students also gave volunteers a chance to reflect on their childhood.

"I can still remember my teacher's aide reading us books and the way she use to hold the book and show us the pictures," Carlson said.

Unlike 'Read Across America', an event held on one day nationwide, individual school districts plan out when they want to hold Love of Reading Week.

Some of the readers hoped to leave the school knowing they made a difference in the students, Carlson said.

"If I can remember my childhood and people reading to me, then I know this is going to make an impact on them, especially from the uniformed services," Carlson said.

Airmen train Marines on aircraft refueling

by Airman 1st Class Zade C. Vadnais
18th Wing Public Affairs

2/11/2014 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Marines from the 9th Engineer Support Battalion are participating in a six-month training program here with Airmen from the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron that will teach them new skills they can take back to their peers.

The idea for the program hatched from a conversation between Master Sgt. Jason Bowman, 18th LRS fuel operations section chief, and Gunnery Sgt. Damian Sinanon, 9th ESB, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, Bulk Fuel Company first sergeant last year.

"I attended the advanced course at Camp Hansen and when I was in the academy I met Marines that did my job," said Bowman. "I met a gunnery sergeant and we started talking about the different opportunities each branch has and he told me 'My guys never get to work with aircraft, do you think we could bring them down there to train?' and it just kind of took off."

The training program, one of the first of its kind, is designed to familiarize Marines with aspects of their job that they normally wouldn't encounter, in addition to working in a joint environment. To facilitate this, the five Marines participating in the program are embedded with the 18th LRS, meaning they're staying in dorms with their Air Force peers and eating meals with them at the dining facility on Kadena.

"We're training with the Air Force to see what they do here," said Cpl. Daniel Ramirez, 9th ESB, 3rd MLG, BFC bulk fuel specialist. "Back at Hansen, we're more of a ground-support unit, so I've never seen anything like this."

The six-month program gives Marines 4,800 hours of training, rotating them between distribution, fuels hydrants, fuels laboratory and cryogenics training.

Boasting the largest refueling fleet and only operational cryogenics production plant in the Air Force, the 18th LRS Fuels Management Flight, winner of this year's Raymond H. Gross award for Best Fuels Management Operation in PACAF, is the perfect place for these Marines to learn new aspects of their job.

The participating Marines aren't the only ones benefiting from the training program. The Airmen they train with, as well as Air Force and Marine Corps leadership, are gaining valuable experience that can be applied to future joint efforts.

"Having this opportunity to experience what our Marine partners do and vice versa is absolutely critical to the future of the military," said Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Janssen, 18th LRS fuels manager. "We're going to continue to push more toward a joint environment as we grow as a force and I think this is very, very important."

"The way we currently deploy and the state of operations that we have overseas means there's no longer just an Air Force base or a Marine Corps base," Bowman said. "The fact that our Airmen and these Marines are able to work together here is going to make them more proficient at working together in a wartime scenario."

Once the Marines complete the training, they'll be expected to pass their new knowledge on to their peers with the ultimate goal of being able to perform both aircraft and ground refueling procedures.

"As soon as they get back to Hansen they're going to be much more knowledgeable on fuel handling procedures," Bowman said. "When they're tasked to deploy in support of hurricane relief or a wartime mission they're going to be able to fill a multitude of positions for the Marine Corps."

So far, the program has proven to be invaluable, providing professional development while giving Marines and Airmen the opportunity to build camaraderie through training together.

"We've brought them in and made them part of the family we have here," Janssen said. "We certainly look forward to having them here and making us better."

Taking care of Airmen 'deploys' chaplains to the last frontier

by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/12/2014 - CLEAR AIR FORCE STATION, Alaska  -- Twenty-four hours a day Airmen can go to a chaplain to tell their deepest secrets in confidence, receive counseling or spiritual care, or be comforted by these non-combatant Airmen who will travel the world to take care of service members and their families.

This is no different for the Airmen who work and live at Clear Air Force Station, deep in America's last frontier.

Chaplains from Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska, travel the icy roads to the remote radar station every other week to aid the Airmen there in completing the mission of providing early warning of intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

"Being able to spiritually worship and have this support is critical here," said Lt. Col. Jennifer Jefferies, 13th Space Warning Squadron commander, the active duty component at CAFS. "At a remote location like this people can get depressed and have separation anxiety when family and friends are at home. Sometimes there is a void. The spiritual attention chaplains provide is absolutely imperative to operations."

CAFS has more than 300 contractor, civilian, active duty, Canadian, and Alaska Air National Guardsmen who work seamlessly together. Active duty members live there full-time on a year remote, while civilian, contractors and Alaska Air National Guardsmen work an alternate work schedule to maintain and support the phased array radar, which also doubles to provide our nation's space surveillance to Air Force Space Command.

"Coming to work here is always a treat," said Chaplain (Capt.) Thomas Fussell, 354th Fighter Wing protestant chaplain. "It is like a deployment compared to working at my home duty station; I get to focus on one thing and that's to take care of Airmen."

The small chapel, which boasts stained glass and wooden pews, is used for Bible studies, daily worship by Airmen and fellowship; however, chaplains focus much of their time outside the pulpit.

"Getting out to the actual work areas like the radar site and security checkpoints is extremely beneficial to me and the Airmen I'm here to serve," Fussell said. "Without that, it is difficult to build long-term relationships since I'm here so little. Being out there having face-to-face interaction is the key."

Chaplains provide worship services and support for their primary denomination and also for other denominations as needs arise. If they are unable to lend the proper support, they are trained to search out a solution to provide for almost any situation.

While there is only a chaplain on staff every other week, other health professionals take the seat and fill in to create a seamless support system for Clear, yet chaplains are only a phone call away.

"Having the ability to support people by phone or on call is important, but being here is really the most important part of our work," Fussell said. "In these halls, work stations and the chapel is where the magic happens."

Partners in Education program helping 188th build bridges with community

By Tech. Sgt. Josh Lewis
188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/16/2014 - FORT SMITH, Ark. -- Community outreach is vital to mission success. For many years, the 188th Fighter Wing here has been committed to helping the community in which it lives, and enjoys some of the highest levels of community support across the Air National Guard. But that relationship is a two-way street. To do their part, members of the 188th volunteer for programs that create strong bonds between the base and our community. One example of this can be seen through the Partners in Education program.

Partners in Education program links the wing with a local school, and lets the school tap into the enthusiasm and expertise of the unit members when help is needed. For more than 20 years, the 188th has been partnered with Sutton Elementary School in Fort Smith, Ark. When a school needs assistance with items such as supplies, food for low income families or mentoring children from broken homes, they can rely on members of the unit to assist in that need.

"It appears that some children in the school need a strong adult influence because some kids lack that in their families," said Lt. Col. Judith Mathewson, 188th Mission Support Group deputy commander.

The mentoring piece of the PIE program is a relatively new part for the unit. Tech. Sgt. Briane McCaslin, 188th Fighter Wing Fuels Operation Center manager, joined the program in fall of 2013. McCaslin is mentoring a child who was making Cs, Ds and Fs in class. Since he started mentoring, the child has shown remarkable im¬provement with all As and Bs.

"He is turning in all of his homework now, and I hope this helps him out in life and he can learn from this," McCaslin said. "The program also allows people to donate a bag of food to ensure that less fortunate children have food to eat through the weekend."

Members from the 188th participated in various events such as a fall festival MASH Bash, in which they set up a simulated triage unit. The program also allowed unit members to attend a career day to teach kids about jobs and personal experiences in the Air Force.

Career day allows members to be positive role models and encourage children to earn their diploma, set goals for themselves and stay away from illicit activities like alcohol and drugs. The lesson plan includes fostering interest in science and math in young men and women to teach them.

"We set up in a classroom with cots and bandages, members from 188th Medical Group and other people attended," Mathewson said. "During the career day, Lt. Col. Toby Brallier did a phenomenal job and was able to relate to the kids."

As a capstone for the PIE program, classes from Sutton Elementary recently accomplished an Ebbing Air National Guard Base tour to allow the children to see firsthand what it's like to be in the 188th.

"This was the highlight of the year for these kids," said Audra Efurd, Sutton Elementary School counselor. "We've really appreciated the partnership with the 188th and everything the wing has done for us at Sutton. I know the kids will be talking about their experience here for a long time. They were so excited and the 188th did a great job of hosting us and showing the kids an amazing time."

For the PIE program to succeed, however, it needs support from unit members. Many peoples' only experience of the 188th is seeing aircraft fly over the city. With the ongoing mission conversion, the 188th will be less visible to the general public, and will need avenues like the PIE program to allow Guard members to interact with the communities it serves.

Programs such as these are mutually beneficial to the unit and community. Students receive the direct benefits of having Guardsmen take an interest in their lives, and the unit retains a useful education and recruiting tool that allows it to stay in touch with members of the community.

$and dollar prints

by Staff Sgt. Rachelle Blake
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/13/2014 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- Two Tyndall Airmen will participate in the 4th Annual Destin 50 Beach Ultra Marathon at the Tops'l Resort in Destin, Fla., Feb. 16.

"The event is comprised of a 50-mile run, a 50K run and a 24-hour all sand run," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Petty, 325th Force Support Squadron Airmen Leadership School instructor. "We are participating in the 50 miler. This is the second year in a row that runners from Tyndall are participating."

All proceeds go to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, he added.

According to the SOWF website, since 1980, the SOWF has helped ensure the children of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel killed during operations or training, receive all-expenses-paid college scholarships.

They also send overnight financial assistance to severely wounded special operations personnel, which allows the family members of these warriors to be with their hospitalized loved ones as they begin the recovery process. The money pays for such expenses as airfare, babysitters, motels, incidentals and even bills.

Tech. Sgt. Brandon Gremillion, 325th FSS ALS instructor, and Petty are extremely motivated to support the cause for the second time.

"Last year, we saw the Destin 50 pop-up on Facebook and liked it, then we saw they were giving away free runs to active duty military," said Petty, a Chicago native. "I didn't even know what it was, but we put our names in the hat and won it. Our prize was a 50-mile run in the sand and that is how it all started."

With little time to prepare, they had no idea what they were up against.

"Initially, when I led into it, I thought it was going to be awesome, but when we really got going, reality set in," said Gremillion, a Nederland, Texas, native. "You just have to keep telling yourself don't quit, keep going, ignore the pain and don't cave into it, because it is going to hurt."

This year, they began training early.

"Last year we only trained for about three weeks, so this year we ramped it up," said Petty. "We have done three long runs on the beach, a 20, 15 and 13 mile run. We do the long slow runs to get our bodies acclimated."

Gremillion said they also run on the road several days a week and the core to their preparation is balance.

"It is very rigorous," said Gremillion. "We basically torture our bodies, while also learning how to nourish it."

Even with the extensive training, Petty said during the race, the body eventually wants to give up.

"The hardest part is when you hit that wall," said Petty. "Gremillion hit the wall five miles before I did last year. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about and then right around mile 33 I started dying, but my family was there, so it was hard to quit and we didn't. We just pushed through and finished it."

Gremillion echoed his sentiment.

"Motivation is hard to come by when you are getting beat down," said Gremillion. "About 30 miles in you begin to ask yourself, 'why am I doing this?' You just have to keep talking yourself through it. If you think about why you are running, the special operators we are running for and the sacrifice other people gave, then you realize, they didn't give up, so why should you."

The organization is not the only reason they are running. They said they want to teach their Airmen perseverance and resiliency.

"As a military member, I like to exude that we don't quit, we don't stop and anything is possible," said Petty. "It is the same as ALS. We have 21 and 22-year-olds that come through and want to quit during the runs and I let them know I am a 29-year-old technical sergeant and I am about to run 50 miles in the sand. You can push through and be that role model for your subordinates as well."

Last year the sergeants finished the race in 12 hours, this year they hope they finish in under 10.

"Crossing the finish line, I have never felt such a vast array of emotion," said Gremillion. "You want to stop and curl up in a ball because you are in so much pain. You see your family and the event coordinators and they are all congratulating you and putting a ribbon around your neck. You know you have just accomplished something that very few people accomplish. It is overwhelming. You are amazed the human body can endure so much."

The pair hopes to continue competing in ultra marathons. They have their eyes on the Georgia Death Race, a 68-mile run through the mountains of Georgia that traverses 32,000 feet above elevation.

Gone in 72 hours: 710th SFS can deploy at moment's notice

by Senior Airman Marcy Copeland
460th Space Wing Public Affairs

2/18/2014 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo -- The 710th Security Forces Squadron, a Team Buckley base partner, is a combat ready reserve force that deploys with a 72-hour notification in support of peacetime, contingency and wartime operations.

The mission of the 710th SFS, a U.S. Air Force Reserve unit, is simply this: train to deploy. Their job is to protect people, property and resources of the U.S. Air Force. Extensive training in law enforcement and combat tactics allows them to be stationed in deployed locations as needed worldwide.

"The biggest challenge with security forces is that we have so much to train on at any given time," said Tech. Sgt. Casey Karins, 710th SFS noncommissioned officer in charge of training. "We have a full gambit of law enforcement activities that we have to be trained in and proficient on. Then we also have a full gambit of expeditionary skills that we have to be trained in and proficient on.

The stuff we do here, checking ID cards or law enforcement activities on base, it is completely different then the stuff we potentially have to do in an overseas environment." he said.

The 710th SFS was activated to support the 310th Space Wing's transition to its current designator from a World War II bombardment group and a training and test wing. Beginning with only four Airmen at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., and after several moves, a home was found for the squadron and gained the 460th Security Forces Squadron as neighbors.

As a unit stationed at Buckley Air Force Base, the interaction with the 710th SFS and the 460th Space Wing might appear to be non-existent, but there is a solid partnership. To keep up with the tempo of deployments and potential shortfalls, the 710th SFS can step in when 460th SFS deployments need to be filled.

"Previously, up until 2010 or 2011, our guys were back-filling a lot of positions in the 460th Security Forces Squadron so that those guys could continue to maintain a high ops tempo in support of the war." Karins said.

When a short notice deployment is tasked, an Airman must be ready to leave within 72 hours of notification. Due to this demanding requirement, the 710th SFS trains consistently no matter the temperature or weather conditions.

"We train for mission readiness in all types of weather conditions," said Maj. Wendy Allison, 710th SFS operations officer. "Since we do not know where we could be deployed at any given time, the training is repetitive and physically exhausting; often in our full battle rattle. This ensures that their tactics become second nature when they are downrange."

The 69 members of the 710th SFS leave their civilian lives to work weekends, training and staying current on all mobility requirements and maintaining that deployment-ready status year round.

"Do not underestimate reservists," said Allison. "Many of us came from active duty, but most of us work in similar career fields in our civilian jobs; so we bring a unique perspective to the fight."

REAL THAW 14 comes to a close

By 2nd Lt. Allie Delury
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/14/2014 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy  -- After two weeks of participating in large force exercises with various NATO militaries, the 555th Fighter Squadron officially completed their inaugural year of REAL THAW on Feb. 14, 2014, at Monte Real Air Base, Portugal.

The closing ceremonies allowed service members from the U.S., Portugal, Netherlands and NATO to debrief on different aspects of the exercise. Col. Alberto Francisco, Monte Real AB commander, along with commanders from the 555th, 201st and 301st Fighter Squadrons were in attendance to congratulate superior performers and reiterate some lessons learned from the exercise.

"Even despite the challenging weather, the 555th Fighter Squadron has accomplished their individual goals and qualifications," said Lt. Col. John Peterson, 555th FS commander. "More importantly, the joint training that we set out to accomplish has been a success both in the air and on the ground."

Col. Eurico Craveiro, Portuguese Air Command air operations director, gave the opening remarks for the ceremony, highlighting the teamwork and camaraderie of the various militaries who dedicated 420 hours and 203 missions to REAL THAW 14.

"Our main objective was to deliver a very complex and dynamic exercise scenario," said Craveiro. "Many agencies that were involved faced a very demanding range of operations during the day and into the night."

Prior to the closing ceremony, REAL THAW 14 participants also had an opportunity to socialize with their Portuguese counterparts during a Feb. 13 barbeque. After working with the U.S. embassy in Portugal and performing at various train stations in Lisbon, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe band travelled north to Monte Real AB to perform in front of REAL THAW 14 participants.

According to Staff Sgt. Jill Marie Diem, USAFE band vocalist, this is their first time performing in Portugal in approximately ten years.

"Part of our mission is troop morale and support, so it's always important whenever we go to other countries and work with embassies that we also get a chance to work with the military," said Diem. "It just so happened that the U.S. Air Force was here at the same time we were. So we were able to come up and perform for the finale of REAL THAW 14." 

Throughout both ceremonies, leadership from the Portuguese and U.S. military reiterated the value of international exercises and the need to continue promoting interoperability in the future.

"The biggest takeaway is that we need to come back, because the time spent here has been invaluable," said Peterson. "The Portuguese Air Force is extremely proficient, extremely professional and extremely capable. They are definitely an ally we can rely on."

U.S. Third Fleet Announces Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Corey T. Jones

San Diego (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Third Fleet announced the selection of the 2013 Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year during a ceremony held at command headquarters in Point Loma, Feb 14.

Commander, Third Fleet Vice Adm. Kenny Floyd, recognized the Shore Sailor of the Year, Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class (IDW/SW) Jessica Villa from Commander, U.S. Third Fleet and the Sea Sailor of the Year, Information Systems Technician 1st Class (IDW) Tristen Hendricks from Commander, Strike Force Training Pacific.

"All Sailors of the Year are top performers, they wouldn't get to the position unless they were sustained, superior performers," said Third Fleet Command Master Chief Terrence Molidor. "All I can tell Sailors is to just work hard. Don't chase a title. Don't chase a position. If you work hard, you'll be rewarded."

Today's award marks the end of an intensive week during which SOY finalists were interviewed, graded and treated to the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and a USS Midway Museum guided tour.

"It's an awesome experience. I'm humbled. I competed against tough competition," said Villa.

"We had a lot of great candidates this week. I'm so happy!" said Hendricks. "The most important thing is to stick to the right. If you're in the right, you can't go wrong. Just take care of your junior Sailors."

The Sailor of the Year program was established in 1972 by Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet to recognize an individual who best represented each command and ultimately the Navy.

"Hit the deck running. Find the things that you're good at, find the things that you love, find a good mentor. Those kinds of things are important," added Villa. "Work the person above you out of a job. Have fun with it, stay competitive and find a mentor."

Another shore nominee was Mineman 1st Class (SW) Christopher L. Ricks from Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command; the other sea nominees were Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Ryan S. Swan from Carrier Strike Group One; Personnel Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW/NAC) Dawn M. Hill from Carrier Strike Group Three; Legalman 1st Class (SW/AW) Krystal A. Baker from Carrier Strike Group Nine; Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/AW) Timothy J. Soukup from Carrier Strike Group Eleven; Information Systems Technician 1st Class (SW/AW/IDW) Jennifer L. Roberts from Expeditionary Strike Group Three; Electronics Technician 1st Class (SW/EXW) Michael A. Wild from Tactical Training Group, Pacific.

U.S. Third Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.

910th Airman named Aviation Resource Manager NCO of the year

by Staff Sergeant Megan Tomkins
910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

2/14/2014 - YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio -- Tech. Sgt. Ryan Wisniowski, a squadron aviation resource manager with the 757th Airlift Squadron here, is the 2013 Air Force Reserve Command Aviation Resource Manager  NCO of the Year.

Wisniowski is grateful for the recognition.

"To accomplish the goals I set for myself feels rewarding," said Wisniowski. "It's a great feeling to be recognized by my unit and AFRC for this award."

He believes it is important to strive for excellence and go above and beyond in his career field.

"Our core values are tested every time we put on our uniforms," Wisniowski said. "It's important we value them not only as aviation resource managers, but as Airmen in the greatest Air Force in the world. We need to provide the best customer service to our aircrew and we have to value service before self when the mission calls for it. We live in a fast-paced work environment and it's important we perform at the highest level for mission success."

Senior Master Sgt. Mary Mracek, 757th AS operations superintendent, said Wisniowski strives for excellence and that he stands out among his peers.

"Tech. Sgt. Wisniowski is truly one of the finest NCOs who displays superb character traits that others can emulate," said Mracek. "He is a well-rounded, hard-working NCO, an exceptional performer, team player, and I see him being a very successful SNCO for the 757th AS, the 910th Operations Group and 910th Airlift Wing in the future."

Wisniowski realizes the importance of his team and the support they showed to help him achieve his goals.

"We have an excellent Aviation Resource Management team here at Youngstown," Wisniowski said. "We are past winners of the Sergeant Millard D. Campbell Aviation Resource Management AFRC Small Team of the Year in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Everyone on our team played a role in helping me achieve this award. Thank you to all my wingmen who help support me, our team and our mission effectiveness this past year. We are all one team, one vision, one voice."

Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho Visits U.S. Naval Hospital Guam

By Jennifer M. Zingalie

AGANA HEIGHTS, GUAM (NNS) -- Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, the 43rd Surgeon General and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command, visited U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Guam Feb. 14th, during her trip throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

The purpose of her trip is to support the Department of Defense's goals to strengthen alliances and partnerships, and maintain an assured presence in the region. Horoho also spent time understanding the health system throughout the region in order to help improve on capabilities with partner nations and military health care as a whole.

During her visit to the hospital, Horoho met with top leadership to discuss the connection between joint efforts in military medicine and force readiness. "Throughout military medicine there are things that will need to remain unique to each branch, but there are also things being done that can be standardized. There is an opportunity to eliminate some variances and facilitate discussions that can better streamline our standards of care," she said.

Lt Gen. Horoho talked with her Navy Medicine colleagues about some of the ways the Army is working to improve the health and readiness of the Army Family as a whole. Known as the "Ready and Resilient Campaign", the Army is working to shift to a culture where Soldiers optimize their own health in order to improve their performance and resiliency. Congruently, both the Navy's Chief of Naval Operations and Surgeon General envision a force that maintains optimal medical and dental standards, with Navy Medicine's top three priorities being: readiness, value, and jointness.

Keeping forces ready in a joint environment is not a new concept to most military medical professionals because it is something many of them do in combat situations, as well as within garrison-based care systems in the states that operate as integrated systems. Now, with the adoption of the new governance model for the Military Health System, these successes are being expanded into some of the military's major hospitals that serve as key readiness platforms.

The significance to military medicine will be improved integration and efficiency establishing common clinical and business processes, to name a few. More importantly, skills required of medical professionals during wartime will continue to be built at home through the ability to practice and maintain technical proficiencies, through the care of Department of Defense beneficiaries.

As the military rebalances some of its forces to the Pacific, it will be very important to ensure its forces are fit and ready. USNH Guam provides healthcare services to approximately 26,000 DoD, Veterans Affairs and Federal civilian beneficiaries each year accounting for 139,000 outpatient visits and 2,050 admissions.

Horoho also received a tour of USNH Guam's replacement hospital, which is being built because the current hospital design is no longer optimized for the mix of inpatient and outpatient services required by the present and projected patient population. The replacement hospital will incorporate advances in healthcare delivery, including improved patient life safety and increased efficiency in hospital operations. The hospital will continue to meet the full spectrum of patient and family centered medical and surgical care for all eligible beneficiaries throughout its lifespan.

"The hospital is beautiful," said Horoho. "I like that they implemented a healing environment. This will be an important resource for those on island as well as the influx of Marines that will eventually arrive on island."